I’m 58 years old. I consider myself a gregarious extrovert. I have friendly chats with total strangers all the time. I have many friends. It’s in my blood, in my DNA. After all, I’m the son of the creator of this blog — Mr. Gregarious himself, Billy Lee.
In the culmination of the classic Christmas movie It’s A Wonderful Life, Clarence the angel leaves a copy of the book Tom Sawyer for main character George Bailey played by actor Jimmy Stewart. Inside the cover of Tom Sawyer is a handwritten note from Clarence: “Dear George, Remember no man is a failure who has friends!”
Well guess what, I currently have 726 Facebook Friends! Yup, you heard that right, 726! I got so excited, I told my wife. She said, “These are not the kinds of friends Clarence was talking about.” She laughed, “You’re a tremendous failure.”
She asked, “How many of those friends would you recognize if you ran into them by chance on the street?” Hmmm. Maybe 75%. “And of the ones you recognized,” she asked, “how many of their names would you remember?” Ummm, probably 95%. She said, “No way. Prove it.”
So I decided to prove it. Of my 726 Facebook friends, I counted how many are Actual Friends, how many are Close Friends, and how many are just Acquaintances.
I defined an Actual Friend as someone whom I would recognize and whose name I would remember if I ran into him/her by chance in the street. It’s someone I’ve spend considerable time with. Someone whom I’d look forward to having lunch with. Someone whom I respect as a person and whom I would offer varying degrees of help, if they needed.
Most people would define a Close Friend as someone who would be there for you if you were in trouble. The problem is that you never really will know until the day you are in trouble. If and when that day comes, you will likely find that some of the people you thought were Close Friends were not there for you, but some of the people you did not consider Close Friends were there for you.
I, instead, define a Close Friend based on how I would respond to them if they were in trouble. I would drop what I’m doing in an instant to help a Close Friend in trouble. For me, Close friends are people I’ve spent a lot of time with or have had an intense bonding experience. They are people I have maintained contact with throughout our lives. They are up there with family.
I went through each one of my 726 Facebook friends. 50 were family. Of the remaining, 676, drum roll, please.. 20 (3%) were Close Friends, 151 (24%) were Actual Friends, and 505 (63%) were Acquaintances, Well, I may not have as many friends as I thought, but at least I did not fail to prove my wife right, again. She sometimes jokingly says to me, “You’re such a loser”. My response is, “At least I didn’t marry one.”
How many real friends do you think you have?
BILLY’S COMMENTS : Prescott is indeed my NO. 1 Gregarious Son, but I have to admit that he is much more witty and high-spirited than I. He is also a Great Prankster among his good friends.